We spent during our short visit to Chicago in August a couple of hours at the Art Institute in Chicago, and those hours passed like minutes and each hour was a century worth! The Institute is really great and we enjoyed our stay there hugey. Of course, for only a couple of hours we could not see everything so that we chose first to see the collection of European painting and sculpture, which is considered as one of the best collectionsof such art in the world and we were more than enchanted with our choice. After that, I went to see the collection of the "Thorne Miniature Rooms" and I could not believe how such miniatures can be done so perfectly! Unbelievable! I felt like I was sitting in each of those rooms in the appropriate era (period) and wished I could really be there. Do not miss this exposition and, above all, do not miss the Institute if you go to Chicago!
I think this place is one of the best Museums in Chicago. Nice arrangement of the collections and a perfect museum shop, quite large. I do hope I'll visit this place again. I especially liked the African section and the American Art section.
I've probably been to this one half a dozen times and it's still my favorite thing to do in Chicago. The Art Institute has a wonderful collection ranging from ancient to modern, and some pieces that are old and very good friends of mine. Four audio guide tours (extra fee) are available with a fun one geared to the youngsters so families can explore the world of art together. With 2 cafes, an upscale restaurant and very nice gift shop, it's easy to fritter away more than a few hours on a rainy day.
Fully handicapped accessible and open 7 days a week except for Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year's days. The museum is open late on Thursdays: a good time to browse without the daytime crowds. See the website for hours, entry fees and other details.
NOTE: the Institute is a sightseeing choice on the CityPASS. Entrance with the pass includes all special exhibits plus an audio tour (normally an additional $7)
We rushed through the Art Institute so that we'd have time to see the star attraction: "Cezanne to Picasso", an exhibition of a collection of works belonging to French Art Dealer Ambroise Vollard. He was a man who "put Modern Art on the map", by buying the art of people like Cezanne, Picasso, Van Gogh, Gauguin and others, and selling it on for an outrageous profit.
It was a great collection, but I was more interested in the American art on show. I was, after all, in America, in one of its greatest art museums. I'd already seen plenty of Picasso, Cezanne, Van Gogh and Gauguin in Europe. There were two pieces I was really looking forward to, and I wasn't disappointed: American Gothic and Nighthawks at the Diner.
American Gothic is one of the most famous paintings in the world, and possibly its most reproduced. It captures the mood of 19th century rural America. Its iconic couple, a farmer and his daughter, looking incredibly sombre in front of their Gothic house, are two faces familiar to everyone in America, and also to many in the rest of the world.
Nighthawks is similarly iconic, but this time capturing a different moment in America's history. It was painted in the days after Pearl Harbor, and shows the "loneliness of a large city", as Hopper described it. It became iconic for showing the mood of Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, which was very much doom and gloom and downbeat.
On Thursdays the Art Institute is open late until 8pm. It's free to Illinois residents on the first and second Wednesdays of every month, there does not appear to be any free admission for non-Illinois residents.
This is my favorite museum in Chicago, truly a world class art museum. The impressionist collection is especially impressive, thanks to Bertha Palmer who donated much of the art on display, and the most popular section so try to hit this early in the day.
My must see painting list includes:
-Paris Street; Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte
-A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat
-Nighthawks by Edward Hopper
-American Gothic by Grant Wood
-Two Sisters by Renoir
-On the Bank of the Seine, Bennecourt by Claude Monet
-The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso
-The Bath by Mary Cassatt
You should also make a point of seeing the beautiful blue Chagall stained glass windows which are back on display after a facelift, the Thorne minature rooms, decorated to look like rooms from both American and European historical periods and the room from the old Chicago Stock Exchange.
There is usually a special exhibition going on that requires separate timed tickets and they can be very popular. If you have your heart set on seeing it, you might try and get tickets in advance, especially at the end of the run when all the procrastinators go.
And a little Chicago history, the Art Institute, was founded in 1879 and moved to the current building in 1893, the year of the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, although the current Museum of Science and Industry was the Exposition's Palace of Fine Arts. Thanks to Chicago catalog king Montgomery Ward, it is the only building in Grant Park, he sued to keep Grant Park "public ground forever to remain vacant of buildings".
If you are looking for a place nearby to eat, a couple of good choices are Russian Tea Time or Park Grill or one I haven't tried, Rhapsody
one of the crown jewels of Chicago where is showcases assorted ancient and modern art and has several wings and the Modern Wing Area which was built in 2006 is connected to Millenium Park by the Nichols Bridge Walkay. The Art Insitute of Chicago is locates in the Sprawling Grant Park near the Lake Michigan area. The permanent collection inside the Art Institute of Chicago is so extensive that it'll take you several hours to explore the whole thing if you are an art lover (I'm not that fond of arts unfortunately) and the museum houses assorted Impressionist Arts and galleries with Roman, Greek and Egyptian artifacts as well as a gallery with a fine collection of African Artn plus more.
Children, Students, and Seniors (65 and up): $12
Children under 14: Free
The Art Institute of Chicago is a world-reknowned art museum with world-famous arwork! It is most well known for housing Grant Wood's American Gothic, Edward Hopper's Nighthawks, and an impressive collection of Impressionist art from famous artists such as Gauguin, Monet, Manet, Cassatt, Seurat, Van Gogh, and many more! The museum is well worth the visit just to see the Impressionist art, but there is much to see beyond that!
The museum offers modern art, American art, and photography along with many pieces of artwork and historical artifacts from Asia, Africa, the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East. The artwork in these exhibits may not be as iconic as the Impressionist art, but they are well worth taking the time to explore. Give yourself plenty of time in this museum to wander around and see everything!
Entrance is $18 for adults and $12 for students.
The largest art museum in the Midwestern US, I was disappointed that I didn't like it more. A decent amount of famous pieces (Hopper's Nighthawks, American Gothic, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, Monet's Stacks of Wheat series). I really was annoyed at the layout, though bright and airy required a lot of walking into dead ends. Still, I think this is definitely a museum worth visiting, just get ready to walk...a lot.
Coming to the Art Institute of Chicago from 5pm-8pm on Thursdays will save you the $18 admission fee, but this museum is a repository of some of the most famous works of art in the world, and well worth the fee.
We were able to view most of the galleries which interested us within the 3 hour window, but it would take much longer to view everything. I came specifically to see the Georges Seurat pointillism masterpiece "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte - 1884", which is stunning in person and displayed in a way which allows you to move ever closer to the painting to see the dots of color on the canvas, then to pull away to watch the dots blend to make a new color. Brilliant!
I was happily surprised to discover the Institute also houses many other famous paintings, including "American Gothic" by Grant Wood, and "Nighthawks" by Edward Hopper, as well as other famous artists, including Dali, Picasso, Monet, Miro, Cassatt, O'Keefe, and many others. It was a feast for the eyes.
Thursday, 10:30–8:00 (Free Admission 5:00–8:00)
The Art Insitute of Chicago can be consider with the big boys of musuems such as the MET in New York, The Lourve in Paris, The Prado in Madrid, etc., World class, it can takes days to see the entire thing... The only bad thing about this place is the price of admission... $18 per person.. The world's most expensive art museum in the world...but a word to the wise... Every Thursday the musuem is free after 5:00 p.m year round...so that's when I go... the train stop is about a block away so it's easy to get there and back ... a must do .... HIGHLY RECOMMENDED !!!!!
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